How’s This for Complexity? The Social TV Ecosystem

I attended and spoke at various Social TV-oriented conferences in the past few weeks, such as the Future of Media Conference at Stanford and TV Next  in Boston. One thing is very clear: the Social TV ecosystem is both increasingly complex and fast moving. Every time I attend a conference, I run into yet more new companies, more entrepreneurs with more creative ideas and more investors looking for the next big thing. That’s exciting – it’s a sign that a brand new market is on the verge of taking off. Reminds me of the early days of the Internet in the mid-90’s.

The intersection between “social” and TV is indeed gathering momentum. According to BlueFin Labs data, the number of social comments around the Super Bowl exploded from a mere 1.8 million in 2011, to over 12 million in 2012. This is just one example of an exponential growth, indicating that consumer TV-viewing habits are changing fast.

Whether Social TV will actually reach the $12 billion mark that Jack Myers predicts, there’s no question that there exists many monetization opportunities in the merging of social interaction and TV shows. This fact has sent venture capitalists, cable companies, and TV networks digging into their pockets to fund their application of choice. I expect that the other side of the Social TV equation – that is, social networks like Twitter or Facebook – will be making similar strategic moves in the near future.

What seemed to be a few Social TV startups offering “second screen apps” just a year ago, has grown into quite a complex group of businesses all addressing various aspects of the Social TV pie. The infographic below is my first attempt at clarifying the Social TV Ecosystem by categorizing the various players. I view this list as a starting point for discussion – comments, additions, suggestions for revisions, disagreements – all are welcome.


Want to find out more about the companies above? Here are links to their individual websites:

Audible Magic                     
BlueFin Labs                           
Get Glue                                  
Into Now (owned by Yahoo)  
NM Incite                                 
Screen Tribe                           
Social Guide                           
Social Report                          
TV Dinner                                
Twenty Feet                            
zeebox (UK)  






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